Fairfield Health Department recommends precautions but not panic amid EEE cases
FAIRFIELD — The town’s Health Department is recommending caution but no major cancellations as EEE grows more prevalent in Connecticut.
The state Department of Public Health announced on Sept. 24 that the second person in the state had died from Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), a mosquito-borne illness leading to inflammation of the brain in severe cases.
The disease has witnessed a resurgence in the Northeast this year, with illnesses and deaths reported in Connecticut, as well as Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
Two people have died from EEE in Connecticut, and as of Sept. 24, 101 mosquitoes in the state have tested positive for EEE since June, according to the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station.
As of Friday, however, the state has only reported one positive EEE mosquito west of the Connecticut River, in Shelton.
Fairfield Health Department Director Sands Cleary said the town’s risk remains low, as no EEE-positive mosquitoes have been found in Fairfield and illnesses associated with EEE remain rare. Furthermore, mosquito activity is decreasing with the cooler weather.
However, the town’s Health Department is recommending that residents take the general precautions suggested by Gov. Ned Lamont, including applying insect repellent, wearing long sleeves and long pants and limiting outdoor activity in the evenings and early mornings.
Cleary said residents need not panic, but should take these precautions to limit mosquito exposure.
“At this point, we’re recommending for [residents] to be aware of the risks, which remain very low, but the risk is still there,” Cleary said. “Just be prepared — if you’re seeing mosquito activity, bring repellant.”
In a memo sent to parents Friday morning, Superintendent of Schools Mike Cummings said the district will not be curtailing evening activities, per the advice of the Health Department.
The Health Department advised that school activities can continue as planned, but recommended the use of protective measures such as repellant and long clothing during both evening activities and the elementary schools’ Riverlab field trips.
Cummings said the district will follow this guidance and refrain from cancelling any activities as of now.
“The Health Department will continue to monitor the issue and work with the state,” Cummings wrote to parents. “We will keep you posted if the situation changes.”